Slaughter in Sri Lanka — The Economist

The Economist quotes a doctor from the ‘safe zone’ who claims over 60 refugees were killed on Wednesday, April 8th.  An excerpt:

 According to a doctor working in a makeshift hospital in the no-fire zone, however, it saw unprecedentedly heavy shellfire and civilian casualties on Wednesday.

By phone from the war-zone, he said that 296 wounded refugees had been brought to the hospital, a converted school building, and that 47 had died there. Typically with “big lacerations in the abdomen, in the chest, very bad head injuries”, the wounded included 52 children under the age of 15. The doctor, who requested that his name not be published, said that the hospital, which has eight doctors and 20 nurses employed by the government to work in the Tigers’ formerly extensive fief, had been overwhelmed by this influx. Already, he said, a dire shortage of drugs had driven them to carry out surgery on phe army says it has engaged in almost no fighting since April 5th, when it emerged victorious from a three-day battle outside the no-fire zone, where it killed 525 Tigers. An army spokesman says it has not used indirect fire in the region—including artillery and mortar rounds—for several weeks. According to a doctor working in a makeshift hospital in the no-fire zone, however, it saw unprecedentedly heavy shellfire and civilian casualties on Wednesday.

By phone from the war-zone, he said that 296 wounded refugees had been brought to the hospital, a converted school building, and that 47 had died there. Typically with “big lacerations in the abdomen, in the chest, very bad head injuries”, the wounded included 52 children under the age of 15. The doctor, who requested that his name not be published, said that the hospital, which has eight doctors and 20 nurses employed by the government to work in the Tigers’ formerly extensive fief, had been overwhelmed by this influx. Already, he said, a dire shortage of drugs had driven them to carry out surgery on people dosed with painkillers, but not anaesthetic. Over 100 of the newly wounded were therefore evacuated (along with 400 others) aboard small fishing boats to a ship manned offshore by the ICRC. The doctor said he had heard that at least three of these evacuees subsequently died.

Shortly after 7am, the doctor said he had seen the effect of the first bombardment of the day. He said five shells had landed, a few minutes and up to 30m apart, in an area thick with refugees: three of their jerry-built shelters, constructed of sticks and plastic sheeting, took direct hits. The doctor said 13 people, including a mother of four children and at least one child, were killed by the volley, and 55 were seriously wounded.

“It’s a very fearful situation,” he said. “Everywhere you look, people are dying, like hunted animals.” Because the government has barred journalists and most aid workers from the battlefield, it was not possible to verify his report. But the figures it contains are consistent with those quoted to the BBC by another doctor at the hospital, and with reports sent, from various sources, to foreign diplomats in Colombo. The ICRC has said that one of its workers was killed in the no-fire zone by shellfire on Wednesday.

The doctor said that in March nearly 2,800 wounded refugees were admitted to the hospital, of whom over 500 had died there. Many others, he said, had been killed and buried without reaching the hospital. These figures are broadly consistent with other estimates. Of 2,400 sick and wounded evacuated from Mullaitivu beach from January to mid-March, 1,900 underwent surgery for shrapnel and splinter wounds.

Read the fullstory at the Economist

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One response to “Slaughter in Sri Lanka — The Economist

  1. I would take what the Economist says with a pinch of salt. After all they were the magazine that ran a map of Sri Lanka with the North-eastern portion delineated as Eelam.

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